Irma, she said. But I had started to walk away. I heard her say some more things but by then I had yanked my skirt up and was running down the road away from her and begging the wind to obliterate her voice. She wanted to live with me. She missed me. She wanted me to come back home. She wanted to run away. She was yelling all this stuff and I wanted so badly for her to shut up. She was quiet for a second and I stopped running and turned around once to look at her. She was a thimble-sized girl on the road, a speck of a living thing. Her white-blond hair flew around her head like a small fire and it was all I could see because everything else about her blended in with the countryside. He offered you a what? she yelled. An espresso! I yelled back. It was like yelling at a shorting wire or a burning bush. What is it? she said. Coffee! I yelled. Irma, can I come and live--I turned around again and began to run.
I was beginning to understand something I couldn't articulate. It was a jazzy feeling in my chest, a fluttering, a kind of buzzing in my brain. Warmth. Life. The circulation of blood. Sanguinity. I don't know. I understood the enormous risk of telling the truth, how the telling could result in every level of hell reigning down on you, your skin scorched to the bone and then bone to ash and then nothing but a lingering odour of shame and decomposition, but now I was also beginning to understand the new and alien feeling of taking the risk and having the person on the other end of the telling, the listener, say: Bad shit at home? You guys are running away? Yeah, I said. I understand, said, Noehmi.